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Puff-Pastry Chicken Potpies

Underneath the golden, buttery pastry of these hearty potpies, your guests will find chunks of chicken and vegetables suspended in a velvety sauce. For the best flavor, check the label and buy only puff pastry made with all butter. Make sure the pastry is cooked through before you remove the pies from the oven. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken, 3 to 4 lb. 
  • 4 carrots 
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced 
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered 
  • 1 tsp. peppercorns 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter  
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 3 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice 
  • 1 cup small fresh or frozen green peas 
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 1 package (14 oz.) frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions  
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water 

Directions:

Remove the giblets from the chicken and save for another use or discard. Place the chicken in a large pot. Slice 2 of the carrots and add to the pot. Add the celery, onion, peppercorns and bay leaf. Pour in cold water to cover the chicken by 1 inch and bring to a boil over high heat. As the water comes to a boil, use a large spoon to skim off any scum and foam that rise to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Lift out the chicken, transfer to a platter and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Pour the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Discard the solids. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

Using a spoon, lift off the layer of fat on top of the chilled broth. Pour the broth into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer, uncovered, until reduced by half, 30 to 40 minutes. Set aside 4 cups broth (save any remaining broth for another use).

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until blended. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for about 2 minutes. Pour in the 4 cups broth, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, whisking until thickened and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Partially cover the sauce and set aside.

Remove the chicken from the bones, discarding the skin and gristle. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Place the potatoes in a saucepan and add water to cover. Season with salt, bring to a boil and cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold running water and add to the sauce. Cut the remaining 2 carrots into 1/2-inch dice and cook, drain and rinse as you did the potatoes. Add the carrots, chicken, peas, corn and parsley to the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture among four 2-cup ramekins.

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and roll out 1/8 inch thick. Cut out 4 rounds, each 1/2 inch larger than the diameter of the ramekins. Lightly brush 1 side of each round with some of the egg mixture. Place the rounds, brushed side down, on the ramekins and press the pastry firmly against the outside of the ramekins to seal. Cut a small X in the centers to allow steam to escape. Brush the tops with the remaining beaten egg. Place the ramekins on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Place each ramekin on a serving plate and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).